Kathryn Hadley

About page

Kathryn (Zadrozny) Hadley is an instructor of physics, enthusiastic about teaching many aspects of physics, and dedicated to pursuing her research in astrophysics theory.

In 1974 Kathy and her husband Jay started a career herding sheep in the western United States. They loved the outdoors spent 25 years wandering around the high country in many locations around the west.

After her sheep herding job near Yakima Washington ended Kathy got in a worker retraining program and enrolled in YVCC.

Kathryn graduated with a PhD in Physics from the University of Oregon (UO) in 2011 after obtaining degrees from Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC) and Central Washington University (CWU).

While doing research and writing her dissertation, she taught physics and astronomy at Lane Community College (LCC) where she received the Faculty Recognition Award. After graduation, she taught at Whitman College as a visiting professor for two years. After returning to the Eugene area, she has continued to teach physics and has been teaching full time at Oregon State University since March 2016.

Over her career she has taught a wide range of courses, currently focusing on a calculus-based general physics sequence and introductory astronomy sequence. She has taught upper-division undergraduate thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, and modern physics, including special relativity and intro quantum mechanics. Her experience includes leading a calculus-based lab focused on error analysis, and an advanced physics lab with topics such as Brownian motion, Fourier analysis and radioactive decay. She also taught astronomy, covering the solar system, stars, galaxies and cosmology as a sequence course, a survey course and an Internet-based course. Kathryn developed and taught an introductory conceptual physics class, including topics such as light, special relativity, particle physics and general relativity. Her online teaching experience also includes several classes taught at American Public University System. There, she has taught 100 and 200 level physics classes to students all over the world. Kathryn's passion for teaching is evident in these varied venues, always excited to reach students no matter where they may be, geographically and scholastically.

Kathryn Hadley

Kathryn earned her degree in the field of theoretical astrophysics, working on high-powered computational linear and nonlinear modeling of astrophysical systems. Her dissertation is an in-depth linear analysis of hydrodynamic star-disk systems, particularly applicable to star formation. This topic is extremely timely, given our current wealth of new observational data regarding extra-solar planets and protoplanetary disks, and interest in the processes at work in their formation and evolution. Kathryn examined a very large expanse of parameter space involving systems of varying star-to-disk mass ratio, disk size and momentum field structure. This analysis involved identifying different kinds of modes inherent to the disks and their underlying driving mechanisms.

Since graduating, Kathryn has remained very active in her research, expanding to other areas of interest. One current project involves the inclusion of a resolved star as the central object in the system, as opposed to a point-mass star. Spatial resolution of the star allows modes of oscillation to arise in the star. Gravitational coupling between the star and disk allows the stellar modes to influence the evolution of the modes in the disk.

Another recent topic of interest is vortex instabilities in protoplanetary disks. These vortices are cyclones and anti-cyclones that can arise in the dust and gas in the early stages of the formation of the solar system. Similar to hurricanes or tornadoes, they can facilitate the clumping of dust grains to begin the accretion process, forming planet cores which will eventually evolve into planets.

Kathryn has also done extensive work in plasma physics, focusing on linear modeling of magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) shocks. Inclusion of the magnetic field in modeling astrophysical systems is particularly difficult from a mathematical as well as a computational standpoint, but extremely important, as the vast majority of normal matter in the universe is plasma. One of her projects investigates corrugation instabilities in plasma shock waves. This instability causes a rippling effect in the shock front which launches waves into the plasma. The calculations arise from fundamental conservation laws. The linear approximation uses an equilibrium solution to seed an eigenvalue problem involving a system of seven coupled differential equations. In particular, she models strong, slow shocks. Strong shocks refer to high sonic Mach number. Slow shocks are especially difficult to model because their magneto-sonic waves travel faster than the local sound speed, allowing them to propagate upstream, affecting the incoming flow of plasma.

Kathryn spent considerable time mentoring undergraduates on projects involving modeling of star-disk systems, plasma shocks and other systems such as neutron stars and strange quark stars while serving as a group leader and mentor in the Undergraduate Catalytic Outreach and Research Experience (UCORE) program.

Since graduating, she has remained active as a Courtesy Research Associate in the Imamura group and retain access to large University of Oregon HPC computer cluster, as well as the new ACISS GPU-based cluster. Her research is fundamental in nature, with many applications and much opportunity for future work, such as modeling jets and bow shocks. Her group developed the Imogen MHD code, and they are working to adapt it to function as a teaching tool as well as a research instrument. Kathryn is familiar with many kinds of advanced technology and readily incorporate these technologies into her teaching on a daily basis.

Kathryn's focus has been on preparing for a career involving teaching and research. As a graduate student, she took every opportunity possible to teach a wide variety of physics classes, and to learn teaching methods from her professors. She has taken committee positions aimed at increasing skills necessary to be an effective professor. She served on the graduate student admissions committee at UO for two years, gaining insight about advising physics majors to successfully navigate the application process for graduate school.

As a woman in physics, Kathryn understands the importance of diversity in academia. Bringing people together from all walks of life strengthens a field. This is especially true in physics, where comprehension of fundamental mechanisms is multi-faceted and multi-leveled. Kathryn has served as a mentor and role-model for women in her physics classes and research group. Her inspiration has helped women to go on to pursue careers in physics and in astrophysics.

Kathryn has been active in outreach, serving as a fellow in the GK-12 program, working in elementary and middle school classrooms to help teachers learn to effectively teach science by doing hands-on experiments as well as imparting information and enthusiasm to the students. Working with elementary school students taught her to communicate deep fundamental ideas in everyday language. She recognizes that for many of the students in her general education classes, participation in her class will be their only experience involving a higher-education science class. Kathryn has a strong commitment to liberal arts education and strives to continually better her ability to reach students and to listen to them as well, recognizing that people come from widely diverse backgrounds with many different learning styles. Her method teaching is spontaneous within an organized structure, incorporating many methods developed by notable people in the field of physics pedagogy.